Temple University professor speaks on microagressions

Hannah Paton, Staff Writer

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Director of Creative Writing at Temple University Don Lee spoke about his personal experiences dealing with microaggressions and the confines of writing in America. Born in Tokyo and raised in Korea before moving to the United States, Lee said his books were branded with a certain stereotype and he was always considered an “Asian-American author” rather than an author. Lee spoke to the campus community in Walls Lounge on Oct. 6 as part of Multicultural Student Services’ (MSS) sponsored lecture series titled “‘____’ Like Me” (“blank” like me).

The burden of race is still very much present in the rest of society.

“What captivated me about writing wasn’t necessarily race, but actually the psychological wounds and alienation every person of every race or orientation feels at one time or another,” Lee said.

These wounds are fueled by microaggressions, which are misinformed assumptions and judgments that are present in our society. They often unintentionally belittle minority races and fuel racism.

“I urge you to question the burden of race representation many authors and people face in society today while writing about what you love,” Lee said.

He was the final speaker in the “___ Like Me” series, the idea for which stemmed from the need for a society so readily labeled “progressive” to begin a dialogue to fully understand the politics behind minority artists, according to MSS Director Vincent Stephens.

“There is this certain burden of representation … If you’re a black musician then you represent black music, but no one would ever say … Justin Timberlake or U2 represent white music,” Stephens said.

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